soybean news, wisconsin soybean association, agricultural road improvement program

ARIP grants clear path for rural road upgrades

Categories: WSAPublished On: May 15, 20241.7 min read

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Roads? Where Wisconsin soybean growers are going, they need roads. 

That’s why the Wisconsin Soybean Association (WSA) supports the Agricultural Roads Improvement Program (ARIP), which was established in June 2023 as part of the 2023-25 biennium budget to improve highways classified as local roads, or minor collectors or culverts, that provide access to agricultural lands or facilities used to produce agricultural goods. 

“This program is a win for Wisconsin soybean growers,” WSA President Sara Stelter said. “Without quality roads and infrastructure, our jobs become more challenging.” 

The program provides one-time funding of $150 million to enhance rural roads, bridges and culverts in Wisconsin’s rural communities. To be eligible for an ARIP grant, the route or structure must have been posted for weight for at least one month in the previous year, must be maintained by a local government, be classified as a local road or minor collector and must provide access to agricultural lands or facilities. Stand-alone bridge and culvert projects are limited to structures under 20 feet in length. Local governments applying for ARIP grants can expect to have 90 percent of the costs for these projects funded by the state grant dollars. 

“These grants will provide rural Wisconsin with safer infrastructure to get products to markets,” Stelter said. “This is the kind of legislation that WSA continually advocates for on behalf of its members.” 

Funding will be allotted based on applications selected from a competitive discretionary committee made up of local government officials and members of the agricultural/timber industry. WSA Executive Director Ryan Smith was nominated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to serve on this committee, marking a win for WSA and the Wisconsin soybean growers they represent. 

“I’m honored to have been chosen to serve on the ARIP committee,” Smith said. “Local road maintenance is crucial to the success of our farmer members. This ensures that WSA will have a seat at the table during these important decisions, and I will make sure our voice is heard.” 

Learn more about ARIP here.